Stonewalling, in a nutshell, is a manipulation tactic often used by narcissists where they refuse to communicate or cooperate with you to resolve an issue. This is also often referred to as the silent treatment. Today, I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about narcissists and stonewalling – including the full definition of narcissistic stonewalling and how to deal with it when it happens to you – plus, why and how it’s done, how to identify it and where you can use it to your advantage.
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My ex-husband had a rather frustrating way of dealing with any sort of confrontation that involved his own wrongdoings. It didn’t matter how gently I tried to explain what my problem with him was – he’d always take it very personally and after making a couple of super-weak excuses for his actions (if he didn’t just deny them altogether), he’d shut down. He’d stop talking to me – sometimes for days. He would become the epitome of a stone wall.
For example, when my oldest son was born, he went to a bar and got drunk soon afterward. I had a difficult delivery and really felt like I needed him to be with me, but his own addiction issues kept him from being there. When he finally did return to the hospital, he passed out in a cot at the end of my bed. That night, my baby felt very warm like he had a fever, so I tried to wake my ex to ask him to get the nurse to check on the baby. He wouldn’t get up, so I contacted the nurses’ station via the little button they’d given me. I explained that I was worried and they said they’d be there shortly.
Now, at this point, I’d already been in the hospital for three days. The nurse who showed up was one I hadn’t seen up to this point and when she came in, I tried to explain what was going on. She looked me up and down and then took my baby out of the room without speaking a single word to me. I was confused, but figured at first that she took him to the hallway to check his temperature. After a few minutes, I realized that she wasn’t going to return – and the recent news story about people dressing up as nurses to steal babies from the hospital combined with the lack of sleep I’d struggled with led me to the irrational conclusion that this unknown nurse was stealing my baby.
Totally freaking out, I tried to wake my husband at that point to help me find the baby. I couldn’t walk – or at least I hadn’t walked yet up to that point due to my painful c-section (which was done without anesthesia while I was wide awake – long story), and I was beside myself when he wouldn’t get up. Long story short, I dragged myself out of the bed and into the middle of the hallway before nearly collapsing and screaming, “Where’s my baby?” at the top of my lungs.
After finding out that the nurse had taken my baby to the nursery due to an apparent case of jaundice, I could breathe again. But when I confronted my husband about getting drunk on this special day – and then leaving me to deal with everything on my own in my exhausted and irrational state, he did exactly as he always did: he shut me down and he wouldn’t discuss it – or anything at all. In my emotional state, I remember crying to the point that I almost couldn’t breathe. Nothing moved him, though. He quickly went back to sleep and when he woke up, he maintained his stonewalling.
The silence felt heavy and overwhelming, and I’d feel like there was a weight on my chest that made it hard to breathe. He would eventually start talking to me again, but when we got home from the hospital several days later, I wanted to talk about it again. He resumed his stonewalling.
This would go on for the remainder of our relationship. Each time, I’d find myself agonizing over what to say to get through to him to make him understand my side of things – and after hours, days or weeks, I’d eventually just give up and apologize for causing conflict and beg him to just start loving me again. After he felt I had taken the blame thoroughly enough, he might eventually “forgive me” for my “transgressions.” This would lead to me once again accepting unacceptable situations and details, and feeling like I’d not only betrayed myself but also that I’d given up one more boundary. That was always the way with him – he slowly and methodically pushed each of my personal boundaries back, one at a time. I gave up so much of myself that I would end up feeling like I didn’t even know who I was when it was all said and done.
Stonewalling in a nutshell is a manipulation tactic often used by narcissists where they refuse to communicate or cooperate with you to resolve an issue. This can be seen in both ignoring you and in body language, and the narcissist may simply refuse to engage in the resolution. This is also often referred to as the silent treatment. Today at QueenBeeing.com, I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about narcissists and stonewalling. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about today at QueenBeeing.com – the definition of narcissistic stonewalling and how to deal with it when it happens to you – plus, why and how it’s done, how to identify it and where you can use it to your advantage. . So, let’s get started.
Are you being stonewalled?
Have you been ignored for hours, days, weeks or months due to a simple argument or disagreement? Does someone use the silent treatment as a form of punishment for when they feel annoyed or wronged? Do you feel exhausted and confused because you aren’t even sure what you’ve done wrong?
You might be getting stonewalled. But why do narcissists do this?
Why do narcissists stonewall you?
Toxic narcissists have a tendency to demonstrate a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, not to mention an extreme lack of empathy and consideration for other people. They also tend to really need to be admired and treated differently than other people – they see themselves as more important than you or anyone else. They are often described as being full of themselves, cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and of course demanding.
This way of thinking and behaving literally affects every area of the narcissist’s life, including work, friendships, family and romantic relationships. It is exactly why and how the narcissist is so capable of enacting the stonewalling technique with so little concern for the profound effect it can have on the people they’re using it against.
What happens when a narcissist is stonewalling you?
When a narcissist stonewalls you, the purpose is emotional manipulation, psychological control and ultimately, to get what he or she wants.
Stonewalling is a manipulation tactic where a toxic narcissist will stop talking to you for days, hours, weeks or even months in order to punish you for some perceived slight. It can cause serious emotional and psychological damage if you don’t realize what is happening.
Believe it or not, this is just one of the many signs of gaslighting and emotional abuse you’ll notice if you’re in a toxic relationship with an abusive narcissist. And, in the case of a covert narcissist, you might often find yourself getting the old silent treatment on a consistent basis.
Is stonewalling a form of abuse?
Yes, stonewalling is a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse. Used as a way to manipulate and control the victim, it can also be used as part of a strategy for psychological abuse that can cause complex post-traumatic distress disorder (C-PTSD) in its victims over time.
How do you deal with living with a narcissist who is stonewalling you – or giving you the silent treatment? Someone who will co-exist with you in the same house while literally ignoring you? What if that goes on for days? Weeks? Get the answers you need in this video.
The question of the day is: Have you ever had to deal with a narcissist using stonewalling or silent treatment against you? What did you do to cope? Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments section below this video.
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.